Apartment owners call for ACT government to reverse rates increase
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Apartment owners call for ACT government to reverse rates increase

When former Australian Federal Police support worker Sher Young downsized to a Barton unit four years ago, it was after a lifetime of hard work.

But Ms Young, 57, fears she may have to put her retirement on hold indefinitely after a sharp increase to her cost of living she says she "never saw coming".

Owners Corporation Network ACT president Gary Petherbridge.

Owners Corporation Network ACT president Gary Petherbridge.

Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Thousands of ACT apartment owners have signed a petition calling on the territory government to reverse the changes it made last year to the way rates are calculated.

Owners of units and apartments experienced huge increases to their rates bill last year, after ACT Treasury began calculating unit rates based on the land value, then dividing that total by the number of units, replacing the previous formula that divided the land value by the number of units, then calculated individual rates.

Sher Young is one of thousands of Canberrans who signed a petition to reverse the new rates calculations for people living in strata.?

Sher Young is one of thousands of Canberrans who signed a petition to reverse the new rates calculations for people living in strata.?

Photo: supplied
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Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe will table the petition with more than 5000 signatures in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

Ms Young, whose rates bill jumped from $1400 to $2000 last year, said she only expected a rise of about 7 per cent.

She said her rates were on par with what she would be paying in a house, but with fewer services.

"An apartment owner actually saves the ACT a lot of money. We and many other apartment complexes maintain our verges at a high standard due to a lack of services from the ACT government," she said.

"The increase in rates is completely unjustified especially when the government hasn't provided any extra services or adequate services."

Ms Young hoped to retire from part-time work when she turns 60. Now she believes she won't be able to afford to.

"In my early years I had up to three jobs. I've paid about $100,000 in stamp duty for houses I've lived in over the years amd it's so wrong to now be punished again, that's what it feels like," Ms Young said.

"I worked hard for a long time to be in a comfortable situation. I feel like that's being eroded away."

Gary Petherbridge of the Owner's Corporation Network started the petition and said the government's rates increase seemed "contradictory" with its aim to increase density.

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"The stated government objective is to have 60 per cent of Canberra's dwellings as strata as a means of reducing government infrastructure costs and as seen recently to increase their revenue in rates and land taxes," Mr Petherbridge said.

"The cost decreases and the revenue increases are debatably contradictory. The Barr/Greens government have also highlighted they currently intend to continue with these aggressive rates and taxes increases on the strata sector for the next two years."

Katie Burgess

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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